Repairs from the big Nor’easter damage are just about done. I’ll be writing about that soon, but while the repairs are happening I’ve been continuing the work to weatherproof the boat.
There are six bilge vent ducts that exit at the mahogany toe rail, and two more on the transom. Chris Craft used a combination of pressboard and solid mahogany boards to make the ducts in the salon and at the transom, but pressboard was a horrible choice for a place that’s directly exposed to weather and spray. Of course, Chris Craft wasn’t building the boats to last forever, and pressboard is cheap and easy to work with. It was probably a decade or more before the ducts started deteriorating, by which time the warranty had long-since run out. The problem for fans of old boats is that once the ducts deteriorate, the leaking water takes out the cabinetry and floors in the area. I’ve used a couple of approaches on the ducts, but the one I think is best has been to use the original design, but with fiberglassed and epoxy sealed 1/4″ marine plywood instead of pressboard. It takes a lot longer to make each duct, but I won’t have to worry about them falling apart in ten years. The last thing I want is to have to do ANY of this work again. 😉
The round pipe is the bilge blower outlet. The starboard salon rear duct was completely rotted out, so I’ll have to make the whole thing.
Chris Craft ran the ducts just down to the salon floor, and they didn’t seal the edges of the plywood floor there. So when rain, spray, or water from washing the boat went down the ducts, it would seep into the edge of the plywood. The wood was slightly soft in spots but otherwise in pretty good shape, so I saturated the area with epoxy until it wouldn’t soak up anymore. I’m also running the ducts all the way to the bottom of the floor frames, so water will drop straight into the bilge. I’m hopeful this will fully resolve all of the problems with Chris Craft’s approach.
The duct cover panel is behind the duct, wetted out with epoxy and topped with a fiberglass layer. Once the epoxy cures, I’ll put a layer of fiberglass inside the duct and it will be ready for assembly.
Next up in our 1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: The Starboard Salon Aft Bilge Vent Duct II